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B-17 Losses in WW2

 
Mack
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01/15/2005 05:13 AM

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B-17 Losses in WW2
On the History Channel I learned something that really pulled me up short. It was a show called the "Ball Turret Gunner" and it mentioned at the end that we used 12,351 B-17 bombers in the Second World War.

Of that huge number, 3,500 were shot down over Europe. 3,500? I couldn´t believe my ears and watched the show again later that evening ( The History Channel repeats the same 4-5 shows all day) and it really said 3,500 lost B-17´s over Europe.

I didn´t know our bomber losses were that bad in the Second World War-that´s 28% of ALL B-17´s. And we flew a lot of other bombers besides just the B-17, like the B-24, as well. What about the losses of the B-24?

Does that 3,500 lost B-17´s figure sound too high?
Apollo 11 (OP)

12/08/2005 10:11 AM

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Re: B-17 Losses in WW2
Not to me it doesn´t... three of my great uncles in the RCAF were killed in bombers. Two at Anzio and one over Berlin. Another one died in an RAF Spitfire fighter. He crashed into the port of Algiers. They never found his body.
stgeorge (OP)

12/08/2005 10:11 AM

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Re: B-17 Losses in WW2
RAF casualties were even higher.Perhaps being less well armed,in it from the start,and using night raids.
"Strange Music was very effective.One or two bombers a night said one German pilot."2IC
Mack (OP)

12/08/2005 10:11 AM

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Re: B-17 Losses in WW2
stgeorge, that´s approximately 4,380 R.A.F.planes. Thanks for the feedback. It seems to me that the war lasted six years and if the British lost just one plane every night that works out to 2,190 planes. multiplied by one and a half gets 3,285, and multiplied by two equals 4,380.

That´s a lot of planes. I had thought the Allies lost a few hundred altogether but now I see it was really many thousands-probably more than ten thousand, damn.
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:11 AM
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Re: B-17 Losses in WW2
" "Strange Music was very effective.One or two bombers a night said one German pilot."2IC"

You mean "Schräge Musik", a synonym for the oblique mounted cannons in the fuselages of the german nightfighters. Schräg means oblique, but also is a synonym for strange or out of the norm. The germans called Jazz Music "Schräge Musik".
The british were at complete loss for a long time how their bombers were shot down. They discovered the oblique cannons not until relative late of the war.
stgeorge (OP)

12/08/2005 10:11 AM

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Re: B-17 Losses in WW2
Their rockets were particularly effective.At Scheinfurt it was stated, "The rockets fired by twin engined fighters caused particular anxiety.Approxiametly four times more powerful than an 88mm burst..."
Derric770
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07/28/2013 11:35 AM
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Re: B-17 Losses in WW2
On the History Channel I learned something that really pulled me up short. It was a show called the "Ball Turret Gunner" and it mentioned at the end that we used 12,351 B-17 bombers in the Second World War.

Of that huge number, 3,500 were shot down over Europe. 3,500? I couldn´t believe my ears and watched the show again later that evening ( The History Channel repeats the same 4-5 shows all day) and it really said 3,500 lost B-17´s over Europe.

I didn´t know our bomber losses were that bad in the Second World War-that´s 28% of ALL B-17´s. And we flew a lot of other bombers besides just the B-17, like the B-24, as well. What about the losses of the B-24?

Does that 3,500 lost B-17´s figure sound too high?
 Quoting: Mack





Think about it. They were conducting daylight bombing raids. DAYLIGHT!!
Anonymous Coward
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07/28/2013 11:51 AM
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Re: B-17 Losses in WW2
Their rockets were particularly effective.At Scheinfurt it was stated, "The rockets fired by twin engined fighters caused particular anxiety.Approxiametly four times more powerful than an 88mm burst..."
 Quoting: stgeorge


Didnt they take 50% loss over Scheinfurth?
Ploesti was also a disaster.

I'm surprised it's only 3500, more than likely the number of aircraft lost is at least double when you consider total losses that made it back to their bases or at least back across the border.
Anonymous Coward
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07/28/2013 11:51 AM
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Re: B-17 Losses in WW2
My wife's father was a ball turret gunner on a B-17 from 43-45, flew 28 combat missions over Europe including Schweinfurt.
He doesn't like to talk about it still (he's 87) as he lost a buddy killed (waist gunner).
1 of 4 were killed, captured or wounded. Highest ratio for US forces casualties except UDT (frogmen)
Poor bastards couldn't bail out if power or hydraulics failed. Cramped in a tiny glass ball freezing your ass off while German fighters and flak guns shoot at you. Not much fun.
G. House

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07/28/2013 11:55 AM

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Re: B-17 Losses in WW2
On the History Channel I learned something that really pulled me up short. It was a show called the "Ball Turret Gunner" and it mentioned at the end that we used 12,351 B-17 bombers in the Second World War.

Of that huge number, 3,500 were shot down over Europe. 3,500? I couldn´t believe my ears and watched the show again later that evening ( The History Channel repeats the same 4-5 shows all day) and it really said 3,500 lost B-17´s over Europe.

I didn´t know our bomber losses were that bad in the Second World War-that´s 28% of ALL B-17´s. And we flew a lot of other bombers besides just the B-17, like the B-24, as well. What about the losses of the B-24?

Does that 3,500 lost B-17´s figure sound too high?
 Quoting: Mack


No.
"Everybody lies."
G. House

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07/28/2013 11:59 AM

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Re: B-17 Losses in WW2
RAF casualties were even higher.Perhaps being less well armed,in it from the start,and using night raids.
"Strange Music was very effective.One or two bombers a night said one German pilot."2IC
 Quoting: stgeorge


That's actually "schrage muzik" the a would have two dots over it.

It translates roughly to "jazz music".

It was a weapon system using an upward firing 20mm cannon.
"Everybody lies."
Spam Killer

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07/28/2013 12:06 PM
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Re: B-17 Losses in WW2
I wouldn't doubt that figure- big cumbersome bomb laden aircraft against the Luftwaffe? Few bomber crewmen completed what was considered a full tour of duty and qualified to be rotated out.

Find a video of Joseph Hellers movie Catch 22
and watch it.
Anonymous Coward
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United Kingdom
07/28/2013 12:18 PM
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Re: B-17 Losses in WW2
ROFL @ OP

Changing username, and talking to himself as if it is different people...

Dumbass s226
BadMoonRisen

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07/28/2013 12:20 PM
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Re: B-17 Losses in WW2
ROFL @ OP

Changing username, and talking to himself as if it is different people...

Dumbass s226
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 44024066


Fucking Schizophrenic more like...crazyjak
If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.

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CharlieMurphy

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07/28/2013 12:22 PM
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Re: B-17 Losses in WW2
Have you ever watched the movie "Memphis Bell" OP? If not I think you should. I will also recommend any of Stephen Ambrose's books about WW2, they are very good.

Before deployment of the P-51, the losses of the bomber forces were horrendous. Life expectancy was really low.

We paid a high price in the skies over Western Europe, but in the end it paid off. Germany was having horrible troubles with Oil. Also, the use of strategic bombing against railroad targets during the Battle of Normandy enabled Allied forces to maintain their beachhead.

If Hitler had decided to use the ME-262 (world's first jet aircraft) as it was intended, as an air to air interceptor, those casualty numbers would be much higher.

I highly recommend Stephen Ambrose books, I recently just re-read D-Day. The movie "Saving Private Ryan" is based on this book, you will be stunned as you read it at how much of the movie follows the book.

Getting back to your OP, I have a piece of historical fiction called "Aces", it centers around the B-17 forces. In one part of the book they talk about a B-17 with damaged landing gear and the ball turret being stuck in the down position so the the gunner could not get out. They had to make a belly landing. While this was fiction, I imagine this probably happened once or twice.

Midair collisions were also a problem in the English overcast and fog. Life was not easy for these guys.

It was a rough war, history will never see a time like that again.
Fuck Yea!
CharlieMurphy

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07/28/2013 12:23 PM
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Re: B-17 Losses in WW2
ROFL @ OP

Changing username, and talking to himself as if it is different people...

Dumbass s226
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 44024066


Fucking Schizophrenic more like...crazyjak
 Quoting: BadMoonRisen


LMAO, didn't notice before I posted. Some people...
Fuck Yea!
Sailormon
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07/28/2013 02:05 PM
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Re: B-17 Losses in WW2
My step father was a pilot of one of these, a captain. Shortly after the war he told me in detail the horrible losses they experienced over Germany, planes were falling out of the sky all around him.

Then years later on TV, a diary of these flights, his name was mentioned during the action, one of few still flying that day. Most of his squadron in the end was lost and replaced and he only had one more mission to fly as a survivor he was to be released. To go home.

He told his commander that day that his 17 had been in too many missions and was too shot up to fly again to no avail. He flew that day and lost all control and power with a full bomb load of incendiary. He yelled to take crash positions and all did except two whom opened the bay, attempting to bail out, they died, all others somehow survived. One of the dead was his cousin from Belding mi. I remember asking him how the plane glided with a full load. He told me, like a rock. Yet he got it down somehow. The plane was strewn over a half mile in the English fields.

As a side note, he would cry thinking about the hundreds of innocents on the ground that were killed by his piloting, a good man. He would talk with tears streaming down his face.
opacarb01@yahoo.com
User ID: 53510693
United States
01/27/2014 11:08 PM
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Re: B-17 Losses in WW2
I used the computer game "Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe" to model Germany developing and deploying the ME262 in late 1943 ... focusing aircraft production and fuel production into jet aircraft. The question I posed in the model was ... could the ME262 knock the 8th Airforce out of the skies ... the answer - yes. But again, it was only a model. Would love to have a modern version of SWoftheLuftwaffe now and do the same modeling.
Anonymous Coward
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United States
01/27/2014 11:30 PM
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Re: B-17 Losses in WW2
Have you ever watched the movie "Memphis Bell" OP? If not I think you should. I will also recommend any of Stephen Ambrose's books about WW2, they are very good.

Before deployment of the P-51, the losses of the bomber forces were horrendous. Life expectancy was really low.

We paid a high price in the skies over Western Europe, but in the end it paid off. Germany was having horrible troubles with Oil. Also, the use of strategic bombing against railroad targets during the Battle of Normandy enabled Allied forces to maintain their beachhead.

If Hitler had decided to use the ME-262 (world's first jet aircraft) as it was intended, as an air to air interceptor, those casualty numbers would be much higher.

I highly recommend Stephen Ambrose books, I recently just re-read D-Day. The movie "Saving Private Ryan" is based on this book, you will be stunned as you read it at how much of the movie follows the book.

Getting back to your OP, I have a piece of historical fiction called "Aces", it centers around the B-17 forces. In one part of the book they talk about a B-17 with damaged landing gear and the ball turret being stuck in the down position so the the gunner could not get out. They had to make a belly landing. While this was fiction, I imagine this probably happened once or twice.

Midair collisions were also a problem in the English overcast and fog. Life was not easy for these guys.

It was a rough war, history will never see a time like that again.
 Quoting: CharlieMurphy



I have seen what you described in a movie a long time ago (almost 30 years). It was hitchcock or something I was young. I do remember that it was a happy ending. They tried the gear one last time and the landing gear came down. Guys rushed up with cutting torches and got him out. They look back the gear fails.
hIndsIght2020
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User ID: 52086730
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01/27/2014 11:33 PM

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Re: B-17 Losses in WW2
Back when History Channel had shows about history.

Now it's all about this guy:

georgioaliens2
Anonymous Coward
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01/27/2014 11:43 PM
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Re: B-17 Losses in WW2
Just the 8th air force had 47,000 casualties, with more than 26,000 dead.
On more than a few days 80-100 planes were lost over Europe.
Anonymous Coward
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01/27/2014 11:48 PM
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Re: B-17 Losses in WW2
Check out the loss tables on this page.
[link to www.taphilo.com]
Creepy-Ass Cracker

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01/28/2014 12:08 AM
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Re: B-17 Losses in WW2
On the History Channel I learned something that really pulled me up short. It was a show called the "Ball Turret Gunner" and it mentioned at the end that we used 12,351 B-17 bombers in the Second World War.

Of that huge number, 3,500 were shot down over Europe. 3,500? I couldn´t believe my ears and watched the show again later that evening ( The History Channel repeats the same 4-5 shows all day) and it really said 3,500 lost B-17´s over Europe.

I didn´t know our bomber losses were that bad in the Second World War-that´s 28% of ALL B-17´s. And we flew a lot of other bombers besides just the B-17, like the B-24, as well. What about the losses of the B-24?

Does that 3,500 lost B-17´s figure sound too high?
 Quoting: Mack





Think about it. They were conducting daylight bombing raids. DAYLIGHT!!
 Quoting: Derric770 43228379


And their losses were no higher than the British, who were flying at night.
Creepy-Ass Cracker, the next best thing to a Super Hero!
Creepy-Ass Cracker

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01/28/2014 12:13 AM
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Re: B-17 Losses in WW2
Here is a table of the USAAF's losses in WWII:
[link to www.usaaf.net]

All together the Air Force lost almost 36,000 plane due to combat or accidents!
Creepy-Ass Cracker, the next best thing to a Super Hero!
Anonymous Coward
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01/28/2014 12:36 AM
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Re: B-17 Losses in WW2
We owe so much to so many!

A guy that lived down the street from me growing up was a tail gunner on a B-17. He was shot down in 43 and the whole plane just blew up and he was blown free and lived taken prisoner but the rest of the crew died! I never heard a cross word from this guy only kind words, we owe so much, so much!
Anonymous Coward
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01/28/2014 12:48 AM
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Re: B-17 Losses in WW2
[link to www.rafinfo.org.uk]
pork fat rules

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01/28/2014 12:54 AM
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Re: B-17 Losses in WW2
check out the Ploesti oil fields raid. lost b-24s in that one.


If it ain't fried in Lard, it ain't real food.
Anonymous Coward
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01/28/2014 09:34 AM
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Re: B-17 Losses in WW2
Here is a table of the USAAF's losses in WWII:
[link to www.usaaf.net]

All together the Air Force lost almost 36,000 plane due to combat or accidents!
 Quoting: Creepy-Ass Cracker


How much per piece ??? Someone became very wealthy !!!
Anonymous Coward
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01/28/2014 09:41 AM
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Re: B-17 Losses in WW2
Here is a table of the USAAF's losses in WWII:
[link to www.usaaf.net]

All together the Air Force lost almost 36,000 plane due to combat or accidents!
 Quoting: Creepy-Ass Cracker


How much per piece ??? Someone became very wealthy !!!
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 51633714


Well of course. That's the whole point of it.

WAR IS A RACKET.
FlashBuzzkill

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01/28/2014 09:51 AM

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Re: B-17 Losses in WW2
I'm proud to say my father-in-law was a ball turret gunner on a B17. He participated in the big week raids that included Schweinfurt. Not many of these men are still alive.

You could only bail out of the ball turret position when it was turned in a certain position. If the electrical system were damaged the gunner was unable to bail out. They were electrically -heated suits which too if damaged would lead to them freezing to death. They were also in the most exposed position to flak. It must have taken incredible bravery to climb back in the ball turret over and over again.
early to bed, early to rise, makes one a day laborer
FlashBuzzkill

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01/28/2014 09:56 AM

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Re: B-17 Losses in WW2
My wife's father was a ball turret gunner on a B-17 from 43-45, flew 28 combat missions over Europe including Schweinfurt.
He doesn't like to talk about it still (he's 87) as he lost a buddy killed (waist gunner).
1 of 4 were killed, captured or wounded. Highest ratio for US forces casualties except UDT (frogmen)
Poor bastards couldn't bail out if power or hydraulics failed. Cramped in a tiny glass ball freezing your ass off while German fighters and flak guns shoot at you. Not much fun.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 26255514


Holy crap dude! Talk about synchronicities. See my post above.
early to bed, early to rise, makes one a day laborer

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